Archive for January, 2015

PostHeaderIcon Maid Agencies with a Good Heart

I have collated some comments/queries/case studies from readers and put them into a common thread below. And, I also like the title of this post. ;-)

Comment #1:

Possible to advise where can i find an maid agency that at least has some heart. I am so scare to get a maid from an agency due to some incident which I don’t want to explain since its over.

My current maid wanted to go home and after talking to her for months, she still insist on going back and I have agree as I want her to be happy. She is a nice gal and is working well with my kiddo so letting her go is a really sad thing at my end but is her choice and I want to respect her.

I have visited at least 15 maid agency and so far non really is good as they didn’t even bother to know what I want or need and just give me a stacj of BIO-Data to choose from. Some just encourage me to get a transfer which I told them I am not comfortable but still push. [named removed by admin]

My Reply to Comment #1:

I think it is really difficult to know whether a maid agency has a good heart or not. It is like trying to judge a book by its cover - we just wouldn’t know until we take a look inside. However, there are some ways which you can protect yourself from “bad people”.

1. Ensure that the agency really makes an effort to find out what are your wants. If they throw a stack of bio-data at you and ask you to search for yourself, you know they are not interested in helping you. They just want to see “by luck” whether you can find someone you want.

A responsible agency will have a least a short questionaire to ask you some important questions so that they can help you shortlist relevant candidates. The fact is they should work for their money, and not ask you to simply search the bio-data yourself. If they don’t have any relevant candidates, they should tell you the truth and ask you to try another agency as well.

2. Employing a transfer maid is not necessarily a bad thing. The first thing you should ask for is the Employment History of the maid they are recommending to you. The agency should be able to get that from the MOM database. If they say, they can’t, you know that they are lying. It is also a contravention of MOM rules. Stay away from them.

3. Before you sign on anything. Anything. Read and make sure you understand what you ‘re signing. Ask about guarantees, refunds, procedures if things don’t work out, etc. Write them down in your own words. Write down the date and time and with whom you talked to. This is to prevent misrepresentation by the agency personnel. Note down the EA Personnel Number for reference.

4. Another thing you may wish to note is whether the agency has many good testimonials from consumers. I think this is very rare in the industry. You should be in good hands, if they do.

5. Try maid agencies accredited by the Consumers Association of Singapore. If they “play cheat”, at least you can go to CASE to get back your money because they are under the purview of CASE.

Comment #2:

I really hope some one can recommend me where to find an agency which at least work with ethic and not just $$$$. Please help.

My Reply to Comment #2:

While I can’t vouch for other agencies, at least my boss is ethical and he is never totally about $$$. So boss, if you’re reading, remember my pay rise ;-)  I never tell him about this blog anyway.

On a more serious note, take a look at my reply to comment #1. Maybe another point is whether the people working in the agency look happy to you. If the boss is a nice guy or gal, the staff should be generally happy. My thought is that a “rotten” boss wouldn’t have any happy staff.

Comments #3:


I have a 2 two month old baby and I’m a working mum.

Will appreciate greatly if you can email me a list of accredited maid agencies.

Thank you in advance for your effort.

[name removed by admin]

My Reply to Comment #3:

Click here and choose CaseTrust for Employment Agencies. There are only 19 accredited agencies in the list. Please note that accreditation is no longer compulsory but these agencies choose to hold themselves to a higher standard. So, kudos to them.

Comments #4:

hi, i am looking for FDW to take of my 2 yr old baby. like to get yr feedback on this employment agency [name removed] is good. also which agency r u from? maybe can help us in the hiring.

My Reply to Comment #4:

Take a look at my replies above. Sorry, I don’t promote any agencies here, including my boss’.

A reader asked about using new maid agencies and non CASE accredited agencies. I suppose using non-CASE agencies are okay. As for new maid agencies - wait for them to have some track record first before using them. But then again, if you don’t use them, where are they getting a track record? Sigh… Just something for you to think about.

Comments #5:

Hi. I have a few queries.

Firstly, would you let me know which agency you worked for?

2.Recently, I engaged the services of one agency. They charged a fee to ‘insure’ the placement fees which is the maid’s loan right? then my maid started having some problem and went away. So they proceed to get me a replacement maid. When I said I paid the fees, so the replacement should have been free, they said yes but I still need to pay the medical fees and the MOM fees, which end up amounting up to thousand plus. Is that the norm?

3. As usual, I gave instructions not to let the previous maid meet up with the replacement. However, I found out that they even spent a night together in the hostel and she badmouth us to the replacement maid.

4. end up the maid wanted out within a month. By right, can I just terminate and get the remaining of the maid’s loan back?

5. When the previous maid left, she went to the agency to look for another employer to be a transfer maid. the agency refused to terminate her work permit under our name. and even after our maid arrive, they send the maid to us but did not apply for work permit as the other maid had not found employment. Is that right? they dragged until 2-3 weeks after she already started work before proceeding? Is that the usual practice?

6. Does all agencies side the maids?

My Reply to Comment#5:

1. Sorry, I don’t intend to promote any agencies here.
2. There are many “types” of fees to employing a domestic helper from the source country. There is the agency fee being paid to the agency. There is the maid’s loan or placement fee or overseas center payment (whatever terms they use) which is a payment made to the overseas supplier. There are other fees paid for medical, MOM e-issuance, runner, embassy, etc.
In your case of thousand plus payment, it would seem like a “top up” on the maid’s loan for the next maid. The free part is that you don’t have to pay the agency fee again. But, you would still have to pay for the insurance, MOM e-issuance, medical etc because it is for the replacement maid. So, the amount seems in line depending on how long the existing helper has been with you. The thousand plus should be a “top up” on the number of months she was with you. Assuming a $450/month pay, she may have been with you for 3 months?
3. It is indeed a bad idea for the old maid to meet the new maid. People being people, they will definitely gossip. And gossip is never a good thing! It is very unlikely that the 2 maids won’t meet if you they belong to the same agency. What you could have done is to either have the first maid transferred first (and live without a maid for a short period of time before having the second maid) OR house the first maid in another location when the second maid is coming in.
4. Generally, you should be able to get back part of the maid’s loan. But, you would have to check the contract with the agency whether that is allowed or the conditions for that to happen.
5. That would seem to be the usual practice. The employer would have 2 maids under her name during this short transition period. Again, check your contract with the agency. Generally, you would have to give the first maid some time to transfer.
6. No, not all agencies side the maids. At the end of the day, agencies should be professional in their work. In other words, they should do what a professional should do, and that is to act in the interest of both the employers and the maids and abide by the law and MOM regulations.
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PostHeaderIcon Is it a good idea to recruit your own maid from the source country?

I got an interesting question from a reader. Here’s the specific comment:

Hi there,

I am sure you are aware of the blog “[removed by admin]”.

You would have noticed it is anti government policies and anti maid agencies. Comments by the blogger are one sided instead of being objective. Apparently she lacked indept knowledge of the maid industry. There is a section on employing maids without going through agencies. It appeared that the blogger had committed an offence by directly or indirectly engage in activities related to or connected with recruitment or helping in the recruitment process without a valid employment agency license from MOM. The blog also encouraged employers to DIY by getting maids directly from foreign supplying countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia without realizing there are strict rules in these countries to protect its citizens from human trafficking. Needless to say, that blog in non-creditable compared to your blog. What are your views?

Here are my thoughts. And, I think the above reader has a very good point, and it is very important that you give this a serious thought.

1. It is never a good idea to travel to the source country to recruit your own maid. Here’s why: you are not a licensed employment agency in the source country and it is illegal for you to recruit anybody under the countries’ human trafficking laws. Even if you are licensed in Singapore, it does not mean you can go recruiting anywhere you want. There was a recent sad case for one of our fellow agencies who got into trouble due to this. Don’t try this. You will definitely get yourself into a lot of trouble in the source country - be it the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, etc.

2. If you want to recruit someone from overseas that you know or was recommended to you by another helper, get an agency here to do a direct hire for you. Don’t do all the paperwork yourself. Here’s why: you may be able to get some piecemeal information from the Internet, but you’ll never know what is really happening on the ground. Your helper maybe held up at the airport due to certain important documents not transmitted, etc.

Secondly, if you do this too frequently, you may be deemed to be “acting” as an employment agency without a licence in Singapore. This is a grey area because the definition of an employment agency is really broad under the new framework. While I don’t think it would be an issue, why risk an investigation by MOM?

3. If you know an agency overseas, you may wish to try to get them to give you details of the helper so that you can make an application  here yourself. Again, just like in point 2, there may be hiccups you simply wouldn’t know unless you’re on the ground doing the work. Moreover, an agency would have resources to assist in the case if there are any issues in the application. Most importantly, DO NOT travel to the home country to shortlist the girls even if the licensed agency invited you over. You never know what the enforcement agencies over there will do.

4. If you’re getting an agency to do the work for you here in Singapore, make sure that your agency is duly licensed by MOM. Check the MOM EA Directory to make sure they are legal. MOM will penalize employers who use illegal agencies and it doesn’t matter that you say you’re being cheated by the agency. It is your responsibility to check.

It is not because that I work in the industry that I encourage readers not to do their own application. You can try, but be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.

In my opinion, certain work is based left to the professionals. You wouldn’t want to do a surgery on anyone if you’re not a surgeon do you?

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PostHeaderIcon, should I shut it down?

You know, life in Singapore isn’t easy. I think, it’s not easy for any trade, for that matter. Just look at all the new laws that came up or are coming up. A ban on alcohol consumption after 10:30pm? Hmm…

I didn’t update this blog for a long, long, long time. Sorry. Have no time - there are too many changes in the industry - just keeping up with it is a full time job. Let alone this hobby blog of mine.

However, I was surprised at the number of comments and questions from fellow Singaporeans seeking advice and asking for help. Please accept my apologies for not being able to respond on a timely manner. I understand how stressful matters pertaining to domestic workers or helpers can be.

Ask me - I know it first hand in my work ;-) But, at the receiving end from employers.

I did think about shutting down this blog, but the comments and questions from my blog visitors had me thinking again.

While I cannot promise to help everyone, I thought it may be a good idea to do “case studies” on comments or questions from readers. I will remove sensitive information but retain the important parts of the case so that you, my readers will benefit from it. Just my little contribution to society.

So do feel free to post your comments or questions, and please do not blame me if I don’t respond on time - it’s really a hobby blog and I am really busy like you are.

However, I will try my best to post some case studies - hopefully, it will benefit you or readers who come across my blog later on.

Do click around or read a little bit here and there and I hope to have an answer to your question(s).

I will try to have some updates on the industry as well.

By the way, I think some links on the site are no longer valid. If you’re looking for maid agencies accredited for good business practice by the Consumers Association of Singapore, please click on this link… and choose CaseTrust for Employment Agencies.

There are only 19 of them. Many of the agencies have opted out because it is no longer a compulsory requirement. However, these 19 are willing to hold themselves up for “punishment” by CASE if they don’t perform. So, consider giving them a shot. Also, read my article on how to use the MOM EA Directory to find an agency with a good retention rate.

I will try to update the broken links or if you’re aware of any broken links, please comment here. It’ll help me, instead of me having to look for them.

Thank you for reading.

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